The Easiest Meal Planning Tool: Save Money, Save Time, & Get Healthy
There are three things I always need to do: find more time, save more money, and have healthy food easily accessible. And I am sure I am not alone. I have finally found a solution for all three. Thanks to the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty (ECCD) program, my life is now a bit more simple.
I came across ECCD while trying to find a meal planning protocol that would work for our family. At the time, I was overwhelmed due to my lack of planning. I was in a rut, cooking the same couple of dishes every week. I was regularly ordering food in because it was convenient. I was making at least five trips to the grocery store each week, picking up forgotten items. I had lost my passion for cooking.
So what does eating clean mean? Eating clean means consuming foods in their original form, with little to no processing or refining. Eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and healthy fats, while avoiding highly processed foods and sugary sweets.
The Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty (ECCD) program has changed our lives. I am saving time, saving money, and eating healthier. Our meal options have expanded, and I am learning new recipes every week. We are no longer suffering from meal fatigue, eating the same things over and over. I am making dishes I never thought I could, and they taste great.
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With the ECCD program, I receive a weekly email with a Mea Plan & Prep Guide which includes:
- Weekly Menu – a list of meals for the week, which includes:
- one breakfast with four servings,
- two lunches with two servings each
- four dinners with 4-6 servings
- one snack with four servings.
- Chulengo and I share the lunch meal and are both satisfied with the portion available. When it comes to the dinner recipes, we almost always have leftovers.
- Grocery List – a list of items to pick up from the grocery store (or raid from my pantry)
- Recipe List – a breakdown of measurements and ingredients for each recipe
- Sunday Prep Strategy – step by step instructions to prepare food for the week. I do this on Sunday, and it usually takes me 2-4 hours, depending on the week
- Day of Instructions – simple, basic instructions for how to finalize each meal the day it is to be served
How I am Saving Time
- I go to the grocery store 1-2x/week, instead of 5+ times (with a toddler)
- I spend less than an hour each evening in the kitchen preparing dinner, compared to slaving away for 1.5+ hours in the kitchen before I discovered ECCD
- Lunch and breakfast are typically completely finished on prep day, so they are ready to eat each day of the week. If not prepared on prep day, they take less than 10 minutes to finalize
- I am not wasting time searching for new recipes, trying to find a new dish to make
- Chulengo and I spend the afternoons during the week playing instead of grocery shopping and prepping for dinner
How I am Saving Money
- I spend about $125/week on groceries for the ECCD program, which covers breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner for at least four days. I often have leftovers from each dinner meal. I try to buy high-quality meat and produce
- According to my monthly budget tracking, I have saved over $300/month on groceries since following the ECCD program
- I use everything that I purchase at the grocery store. Very little goes to waste
- Whole foods are cheaper and go further than processed, packaged foods
How I am Getting Healthier
- Recipes don’t include processed foods such as grains, refined sugars, and chemically processed foods
- Very rarely do recipes include dairy, which often makes feel bloated and uncomfortable
- By eating clean, I have more energy to run around with my toddler
- I have lost weight, and like the way I look in the mirror. My negative self talk has diminished significantly
- My skin looks more clear and hydrated. I don’t feel obligated to put makeup on every day which turns into a time saver
- I am sleeping better. I am no longer waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep
- I am putting whole foods in my body, instead of processed and packaged foods that don’t taste good and often go to waste
- I have more confidence in how I feel and look. I no longer spend time looking in the mirror thinking about all the changes I want to make
The number one reason why I love the ECCD program is that everything is simplified and written out for me. I don’t have to do any of the legwork for meal planning. I print out my list for the week, go to the grocery store, prep on Sunday, and then I am ready for the week. I don’t have to worry about researching recipes and making multiple shopping lists. I follow the step by step instructions for each dish and have delicious meals ready for my family each day.
Prep day is like mediation day for me. My husband entertains Chulengo for half a day while I spend three to four hours in the kitchen getting meals ready for the week. I am in the kitchen alone. No one is talking to me or pulling at my waist wanting to be picked up. An uninterrupted couple of hours is pure joy for me.
Everyone in my household is enjoying the meals. Chulengo is eating meals without a fuss. My husband, who was at first annoyed at me for replacing his comfort meals with clean eating, has enjoyed each meal. I typically add a salad to a meal if I feel like we need a little more volume. I’ve gotten creative with salads by using leftover ingredients from my weekly shopping trip.
Meals are Seasonally Planned
Each week is organized to use seasonal produce. Because it is winter, the past couple of months I have been making dishes with different types of squash. This keeps costs down because seasonal produce is more affordable. Produce also tastes better because it is easier to buy local during seasonal times.
Improved Cooking Skills
My cooking skills have improved. I’ve learned new ways to cook dishes that are tasty yet healthy. I’ve become more adventurous and confident in whipping together a healthy meal. I’m learning how to properly season dishes to make them taste good without compromising nutrition.
Organized & Stocked Pantry
I’ve learned how to keep a properly stocked pantry. By following the guide to a stocked pantry, I buy less and spend less. My pantry is more organized and I regularly have items on that I use each week while cooking. Before ECCD, I would have bulk items shoved in the back of my pantry with canned items. My freezer was so disorganized I never knew what I had available. I would end up buying a box of frozen spinach only to find out I already had three packages in our freezer.
Easy to Use
The ECCD plan has a fantastic welcome program to help you make the most of the ECCD program. You can even schedule a 15-minute intro call with Sam, the founder, to ask any questions and help get you started on the right foot. I get an email each week, reminding me to get prepared for the following week. I can look at the upcoming weeks or past weeks.
I am getting the most for my money with the ECCD program, compared to other programs. I have tried boxed delivery programs, and I was spending so much money but wasn’t enjoying the culinary experience. The meals weren’t as delicious as I had hoped. With ECCD, I pay a one-time fee to have lifetime access to recipes, meal plans, grocery lists, and more.
At first, I wasn’t wild about paying money for a meal planning program when there are a lot of free resources available. But, I realized that you get what you pay for. The free meal planning programs I found online were more related to writing down meal ideas, coming up with my own recipes, and creating my own shopping lists. For less than $2 per week, ECCD does everything for me. I get a weekly meal plan. I get a grocery shopping list. I get recipes. I get prep instructions for prep day and the day I plan to serve the meal. The only work I have to do to meal plan, is log in to my ECCD program and print out the plan for the week.
ECCD was started by a mom
As I was talking to Sam on the phone this afternoon, I asked her how she came up with the ECCD program. She said being a working mama with a long commute; her meals were the first priority to go out the window. She started meal planning, with the focus on eating clean. As she started talking to other moms, she realized that there was a serious need for a meal planning program that made life very easy.
Sam knows exactly what parents go through to try and provide a good meal for their kids. Whether you say home with your children or you work out of the house, she understands that spending hours in the kitchen preparing dinner is close to impossible. You either don’t have the time, or you have little ones who want all of your attention while you attempt to put a meal together.
Options, Options, Options!
There are three different plans to choose from with ECCD: basic, pro, and elite. Every plan includes:
- Access to the Meal Prep Video Library
- 52 weeks of seasonal meal plans with prep guides as downloadable PDFs
- 52 weeks of
- Access to the private facebook group: Prep. Eat. Well.
- 15-minute “Jump Start” Call with the founder, Sam
The pro plan also includes individual printable PDFs of each itemized recipe. The elite plan includes the individual printable PDFs plus 4-full color printed seasonal cookbooks.
I opted for the pro plan because I like to have access to individual recipes and PDFs. I have been taking note of which recipes are a huge hit so I can recreate them easily in the future or make them when our guests come over. My long-term goal is to create a cookbook for myself of ECCD recipes that I love to make and my family loves to eat. I print out PDFs of each recipe that is a hit.
Want to Try the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty Program?
Play around on the ECCD website. You can try a free week of meal planning. I did this to test out the program and found out it worked well for my family.
If you find the Eating Clean, Cooking Dirty program works for you let me know! I would love to chat about how your meal planning is going, what you liked, what you didn’t like among the various dishes each week. We are all in this together, and it is a bit easier when you have a community with a common agenda like simple meal planning